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Rosslyn Chapel restoration project comes to an end after 16 years

The last piece of scaffolding was removed from renowned Da Vinci Code chapel on Thursday.

Camilla Duchess of Cornwall visits Rosslyn Chapel.
© SWNS

A 16-year project to restore Rosslyn Chapel has come to an end, with the last piece of scaffolding removed from the building.

Work started in 1997 after it was found the intricate stonework was being damaged by dampness and high humidity levels. A steel structure was constructed over the listed chapel in Midlothian to allow the roof to dry out naturally.

It was removed in 2010 and since then conservationists have made stone and mortar repairs to the external walls, pinnacles and buttresses. The roof has also been made watertight, stained glass windows conserved, a heating system installed and the organ restored.

On Thursday, the last piece of scaffolding was removed from the structure, marking the end of the £9.3m project.

Director of the Rosslyn Chapel Trust, Ian Gardner, said: "This is a great moment as the far-sighted conservation project in the Chapel comes to an end and the scaffolding, which had become a near permanent feature, has all been removed.

"For the first time since 1997, visitors can now enjoy an uninterrupted view of the exterior of the building, which, like the rest of the Chapel, is rich in carvings and details."

Rosslyn Chapel was founded in 1446 by Sir William St Clair and took 40 years to build. It is still owned by the Earl and Countess of Rosslyn and is a working church.

The symbols carved on the chapel’s ornate stonework earned it a place in Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code which has boosted visitor numbers.

The last piece of scaffolding was removed by culture secretary Fiona Hyslop.

She said: "Rosslyn Chapel is utterly unique and is of international significance in terms of both its architecture and cultural heritage.

"The conservation work carried out on the structure over the past two decades has been extensive and painstaking and it is to the credit of everyone involved that the finished project – complete with an impressive new visitor centre – has not only conserved Rosslyn Chapel for future generations to enjoy, but allows us to see it in a whole new light.

"I am delighted that Historic Scotland has been able to contribute £1.6m towards this worthwhile project which has safeguarded the future of Rosslyn Chapel, allowing visitors from around the world to continue to enjoy it."

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